Infrared spectroscopy of faint 15 μm sources in the Hubble Deep Field South: First hints at the properties of the sources of the IR background *,**,***
Dipartimento di Astronomia, Vicolo Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
2 Max Planck Institute fuer Extraterrestrische Physik, Garching bei Muenchen, Germany
3 Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Italy
4 Institute for Astronomy, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
5 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-str. 2, 85740 Garching, Germany
6 Centre d'Études de Saclay, Service d'Astrophysique, Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
7 Astronomy Center, CPES, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QJ, UK
8 ICSTM, Astrophysics Group, Blackett Laboratory, Prince Consort Rd., London, SW2 1BZ, UK
9 Leiden Observatory, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands
Corresponding author: A. Franceschini, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 7 March 2003
We present a spectroscopic analysis of a sample of 21 galaxies with drawn from a 25 square arcmin ultra-deep ISOCAM survey at m centered in the WFPC-2 Hubble Deep Field South. Near-infrared spectra are reported for 18 ISO sources, carried out with ISAAC on the VLT, aimed at detecting the redshifted H[Nii]. Additional optical data come from the ESO VLT/FORS2 and NTT/EMMI, primarily targeting [Oii], [Oiii] and Hβ for further physical insight. Although not numerous in terms of areal density in the sky, this population of very luminous IR sources has been recently found to be responsible for a substantial fraction of the extragalactic background light energy density. Hα line emission is detected in virtually all the observed objects down to a flux limit of erg cm-2 s-1 (corresponding to erg s-1 at for , and ). Our analysis (including emission line, morphology, and SED properties) shows clear evidence for AGN activity in only two of these sources: one type-I (with broadened Hα at ) and one type-II quasars (with inverted [Nii]/Hα ratio at ), while we suspect the presence of an AGN in two further sources (an Ultra-Luminous IR Galaxy, ULIRG, at and a luminous galaxy at ). The Hα luminosities indicate star formation rates (SFR) in the remaining sources between 0.5 and 20 , assuming a Salpeter IMF between 0.1 and 100 and without extinction corrections. We find good correlations between the mid-IR, the radio and Hα luminosities, confirming the mid-IR light as a good tracer of star formation (while the SFR based on Hα flux show some large scatter and offset, which are still to be understood). We have estimated the baryonic masses in stars with a newly-developed tool fitting the overall optical-IR continuum, and found that the host galaxies of ISO sources are massive members of groups with typically high rates of SF ( to 300 ). We have finally compared this ongoing SF activity with the already formed stellar masses to estimate the timescales tSF for the stellar build-up, which turn-out to be widely spread in these objects between 0.1 Gyrs to more than 10 Gyr. The faint ISOCAM galaxies appear to form a composite population, including moderately active but very massive spiral-like galaxies, and very luminous ongoing starbursts, in a continuous sequence. From the observed tSF and assuming typical starburst timescales, we infer that, with few exceptions, only a fraction of the galactic stars can be formed in any single starburst event, while several of such episodes during a protracted SF history are required for the whole galactic build-up.
Key words: galaxies: interactions / galaxies: starburst
Based on observations with ISO, an ESA project with instruments funded by ESA member states (especially the PI countries: France, Germany, The Netherlands, and the UK) with the participation of ISAS and NASA.
Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile, ESO No. 63.O-0022, 65-000 67-000.
© ESO, 2003